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With all the new construction around Southeast, there have been quite a few gas main breaks...

DAVID F. ASHTON - While flammable gas burst from the cut line, NW Natural workers carefully cleared dirt around the area, to allow the repair to be completed. It happens way too often these days, and it happened again on June 6th in Brentwood-Darlington along S.E. Tenino Street, between 57th and 60th Avenues. Neighbors became concerned when the "rotten eggs" aroma of "methyl mercaptan" wafted through the air.

Also disturbing was the loud whistling noise of unrestrained natural gas bursting from a newly-dug trench in front an under-construction new home.

At 4:51 p.m., crews from Westmoreland Fire Station 20, Woodstock Fire Station 25, and Lents Fire Station 11 arrived and quickly deployed water lines, in case the escaping gas were to accidently ignite.

Repair crews from NW Natural Gas also pulled up. First, the supervisors evaluated the situation and made a plan. Eventually, working in the ditch, a NW Natural crew member used a tool to clamp off the escaping gas.

"I have confirmed we had a third-party contractor damage a natural gas line," later shared NW Natural Public Information Officer Elaina Medina.

"Our crews were able to repair the line and controlled the gas at 6:09 p.m. In addition to our crews, 'utility locators' were called to the scene as well," Medina told THE BEE.

Take care during 'digging season'

Upcoming summer weather encourages people to work in their yards; Medina encouraged individuals and contractors to call "811" at least two business days before beginning any project that involves digging — no matter how small the project might be.

"If you damage a natural gas line, immediately call NW Natural at 800/882-3377," advised Medina. "No damage is too small to report — including gouges, scrapes, and dents."


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